Sediment drifts and cold-water coral reefs in the Patagonian upper and middle continental slope
del Rio, J. L.
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KeywordPatagonian continental slope; Sediment drifts; Falkland /Malvinas Current; Cold-water coral reefs; Iceberg rafted sediments
The north flowing Falkland / Malvinas Current has generated sediment drifts at a depth of 1200-1600 m in the Patagonian middle continental slope out of early Holocene hemipelagics, late Pleistocene ice rafted clastics, and Neogene fluvial sediments. Possibly there may be two generations of drifts, Pleistocene on the outer middle slope and Holocene on the inner shelf. The ice rafted debris originated in Antarctica, at a distance of 2000 to 4000 km south of Patagonia. Scattered over the upper and middle slopes, at depths ranging from 300 to 1400 m, are cold-water coral reefs of less than a meter to about ten of meters in relief. It is inferred that most of cold-water coral structures flourish as a consequence of the Falkland /Malvinas Current that concentrates the food supply at the reef sites. Growth of cold-water coral reefs, documented by digital submarine photographs on the upper slope, at a depth of 300/400 m, may be promoted by upwelling of nutrient-rich waters and associated plankton blooms created by the intrusion of Falkland /Malvinas Current onto the outer shelf.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2012. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine and Petroleum Geology 36 (2012): 70-82, doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.05.008.
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